from post-christendom to pre-christian: religious trend in canada
The following is an excerpt from the reKindle Trend Tracker: Seismic Shifts Affecting Christian Mission, 2023.
Canada is experiencing a rapid decline of Christianity. The 2021 census data revealed that only 53% of Canadians identify as Christian, down 14% from 2011. Simultaneously, the nation is experiencing a rapid increase of religious “nones,” a somewhat catch-all term used to describe those who identify as irreligious, agnostic, or unaffiliated with any one religious organization.
Today, this growing group makes up more than one-third (34%) of Canada’s total population. There is a current impulse in Canada away from traditional religion and toward various other religious identities and ideologies, such as paganism, environmentalism, gender politics, and social architecture, to name a few. This data, further nuanced by adding many world religions via immigration, presents a new religious milieu that is both religiously pluralistic and secularly irreligious simultaneously.
As the Christian overlay on Western cultural life is being removed, Canada is increasingly moving from a culture of post-Christendom, where Christian faith loses coherence with society, toward that of pre-Christian or neo-pagan, where no former knowledge of Christian faith exists. Further, many Canadians are becoming generationally distanced from any Christian memory. As emerging generations grow up with little knowledge of the Christian faith, a new generation of pre-Christians will eventually emerge. The swift decrease in the general knowledge and understanding of Jesus, Christianity, and the story of the Bible exemplifies this. Positively, however, there is increased openness to spirituality, particularly among Generation Z, born between 1996 and 2015. Recent statistical data from Barna indicates a positive perception toward the person and message of Jesus in Gen Z across the Americas.
To see more trends and download the Trend Tracker please click here.
i. How might the decline of Christianity and the rise of irreligious identity affect the church’s approach to evangelism?
ii. How might this new religious milieu affect the training of Christ-followers to live in the world as evidences of the Kingdom?
iii. To what extent is the spiritual harvest of Canada becoming even riper as people with no foreknowledge of Christianity encounter Jesus for the first time?
 Thiessen, Joel and Sarah Wilkins-Laflamme. None of the Above: Nonreligious Identity in the US and Canada. Regina: University of Regina Press, 2020.
 The Open Generation Vol. 1: How Teens Around the World Relate to Jesus. A Barna Report Produced in Partnership with Biblica, World Vision and Alpha (Barna Group, 2022), 22.